What would you reveal to Mrs Kong regarding your professional view about children with Down syndrome and their future in Singapore? (4 Marks)
Firstly I would first explain to Mrs. Kong that Down syndrome is actually an intellectual disability (Lim & Quah, 2005). The affected child might have physical impairments and also will have developmental delays in motor skills raging from mile to severe. (Singapore Down Syndrome Association, 2009).
I would assure Mrs Kong that even though there is a cognitive delay, a child with down syndrome is capable of learning new things (Lim & Quah, 2005). I would also inform her that there are schools and organizations that help children with down syndrome live their lives independently in the future such as the RAINBOW centre and also MINDS. These schools and organizations cater to the “educational, vocational, social and welfare needs of the intellectually disabled” (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore, 2005) Furthermore, I would update Mrs Kong that there is an Employment Development Centre (EDC) which focuses on seeking jobs for people who are intellectually disabled. EDC provides work training and also functional academics to equip her child with the necessity cognition to function as individuals independently daily in the future.
(b) Given the limited information provided, what would you advise Mrs Kong about:
(i) Enrolling Nicky into the centre's toddler class; (2 Marks)
I would definitely advice Mrs Kong to enroll Nicky into the centre’s toddler class. I would ensure her that my centre provides and caters to the needs of all diverse children in the class and inform her that I would take Nicky’s disability into consideration while planning the arrangement of the classroom and also the lesson plans. By enrolling Nicky into the toddler’s class beforehand, it is also a form of Early Intervention. According to Lim & Quah (2005), early intervention means whichever form of services and preschool education for both the young child with disability and also his or her family. Early intervention helps prevent or reduce the development and learning problems and also might reduce the effects of disability during the early years of childhood (Lim & Quah, 2005).
I would also stress with Mrs Kong that she needs to work closely with me as it is not known yet the severity of Nicky’s disability. This is important as I would be able to observe and note down Nicky’s progress in class accurately.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
Even though Nicky’s facial signs have no indications that she has down syndrome, I would inform Mrs Kong that she has to take into account the other physical characteristics such as the excessive space between large and second toe or a single deep crease across the center of the palm (Singapore Down Syndrome Association, 2009). This is because since Nicky was being diagnosed by a blood test, the test would most likely be accurate. According to KK Woman’s and Children’s Hospital (2009), a blood test “is the single most accurate test for the screening of Down Syndrome”. Therefore, I would advice Mrs Kong to come into terms with Nicky’s disability and also to make an appointment for Nicky’s further assessment to determine the severity of her disability. This is important so that I could plan appropriately on how to help develop Nicky holistically once the assessment is being done.
(b)What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
Special education is “purposeful intervention” (Heward, 2000 as cited in Lim & Quah, 2005). I would inform Mrs Kong that when special education is done successfully, it will “prevent, eliminate, and/or overcome the obstacles that might keep an individual with disabilities from learning and from full and active participation in school and society” (Heard, 2000, pg. 31 as cited in Lim & Quah, 2005). Also, I would say that for special education to work, several things are needed such as psychological assessment, medical treatment, counseling, special transportation, teaching techniques and equipment and also occupational and physical therapy (Lim & Quah, 2005).
There are a number of special schools in Singapore, namely the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and also Rainbow centre. I could disclose to Mrs Kong that these schools are equipped to cater to the needs of the special children accordingly. Also, Rainbow Centre provides parent training programme aimed at new parents who have a child has a disability. This training programme will support and help parents cope with their child who has a disability (Lim & Quah, 2005). Therefore, not only will it benefit Nicky when she can enter the school at four, it will also benefit Mrs Kong in coping and coming into terms with Nicky’s disability.
I would inform Mrs Kong that in Singapore, inclusion is not yet well implemented. However, there are increasing amount of children with disability seen in mainstream classrooms and furthermore steps are taken to ensure that Singapore is slowly moving into successful inclusion (Lim & Quah, 2005). I can reassure Mrs Kong that inclusion is possible in every classroom. This is because according to Lim and Quah (2005), inclusion means giving the “necessary support” so that children with disabilities can become full participants in classroom activities. Necessary support comprises of the additional specialized training and extra teachers in the class as well as adaptation of the learning materials and the curriculum. I can ensure Mrs Kong that she need not worry about Nicky because with the correct amount of encouragement and support from my centre and also the various organizations and special schools, Nicky will be able to survive independently in the future.
Down Syndrome Association Singapore – Not Disabled Differently Abled. (2009). What is
Down Syndrome?. Retrieved August 12, 2009 from Singapore Down Syndrome Association Website:http://downsyndrome-singapore.org/content/view/34/112/
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital- First Trimester Screening (2009). Retrieved August 13,
2009 from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital website:
Lim, L. & Quah, M.M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore: McGraw
Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (2005). Retrieved August 13, 2009 from:
Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore website:
Nurullasslinda Bte Pardi, Group B.